Something black in the road, something that wasn’t a tree. Something big and black and ropy, just squatting there, waiting, with ropy arms squirming and reaching. . . It came crawling up the hillside. . . and it was the black thing of my dreams – that black, ropy, slime jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms.
The goal of every writer should be to have their words be worth more than the paper they’re written on.
Art is a lens through which the artist sees a world. The process of creating art is an experiment by which the artist constructs a viewing apparatus for other people to view a portion of a world visible to the artist. Just as there is a scientific method, there is (or should be) an artistic method.
- Define a question
- Gather information and resources (observe)
- Form an explanatory hypothesis
- Test the hypothesis by creating a work of art and collecting data in a reproducible manner (Create and show)
- Analyze the data (What did people see through your art?)
- Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses (Did you properly convey your vision?)
- Publish results (“My audience “gets” me!”)
Human consciousness has evolved along survival lines. Our senses exist primarily to warn us of imminent danger, and our brain is primarily wired to process this sensory input in a manner that prioritizes threats. Humor, beauty, sensuality, pleasure and even raw emotion are learned, imprinted on us after birth. They certainly do exist, but they are far outside the “natural” blank slate state we’re born with. They’re all matters of perception.
When we re-wire our brains, whether its through the introduction of entheogenic substances (drugs) or guided self examination (meditation), we radically alter the way in which perceive the universe around us. When we become bogged down in endlessly striving for that which is “real,” we’re simply trying to go back to that emotionless, survivalist form of our newly-born mind. We can’t go back. We can’t kill off our hunger for beauty, wonder and magic. When we force our minds to stop working in the threat assessment mode and similarly force it to rewire itself, we are perceiving reality in a new manner. Sounds may indeed have “tastes” in this new perception of reality because we’ve forced our brain to process the signals in a manner in which they are not traditionally routed.
Venetian Snares and Aphex Twin have already demonstrated this.
Magick appeals to both authoritarian and anarchist elements: either it’s the anarchist element, with “I am a slave to no demon, devil, god, angel or supernatural being” or it’s the authoritarian element– which takes the previous statement and appends “…but they are slaves to me!”
Art is context and intent. Art exists to evoke an emotion. If we can assume that the intent of the artist is to evoke a specific emotion in the viewer, a work of art can be considered effective if the evoked emotions roughly match with those intended by the artist. Even if the artist’s intent is simply to createsome thingthat only satisfies a deep, as yet unidentified urge within the artist, the work still has an intent, a context and set of emotional responses it is expected to invoke.
From this, we can indeed infer that art iseverywhere— and the act of creating a work of art does not necessarily require a skill set like those possessed by skilled laborers, outside of those skills necessary to achieve the vision of the creator. The primary job of the artist is not to know how to operate a bead-blasting machine or to finish a block of wood– but to assign meaning, purpose and life to aspects of our physical reality. Whether this is done by the skilled act of blending various objects together in a smooth, seamless, well-crafted object or by invoking an emotion in a large group of people, “art” is being created. Even if we took the post modern route– that is, attempting to create a work of art that lacks context, intent and emotion– we’d still have a work of art that had context (why it is being shown, why people are aware of it, the background of the artist), intent (the intent being to create a work of art without intent) and whatever emotional (or lack thereof) response on the part of the viewer. Indeed, in this scenario, the most effective way of creating art that has no context, intent or emotion would be to not create anything at all, and instead use the money to be spent on procuring materials on food, rent or taxes.
Art fails when its intent, context and desired emotional response are gone or forgotten; it is important to point out that “failed art” also possesses the potential for the reassignment of context, intent and emotion. Thus, the cycle of art continues on.